Friday, February 16, 2018

The Inability to Respond

As Human Resources leaders, we care deeply about leadership competencies in two ways:

- The first, is putting forth the effort to identify, develop, and implement them. 

- The second, which is BY FAR the one we immediately forget, is to hold our leaders accountable to live up to those competencies.

Things Happen
Every day we're challenged as unexpected circumstances arise. These aren't necessarily 'bad things' but they do require attention. Our attention.

For initiatives are planned and launched...milestones must not only be met, but a significant amount of effort must go into reaching those milestones on schedule...

But somehow, things aren't moving along as they should.

Another example...outdated policies and practices are identified that no longer make sense (think anything your organization has written relative to social media, employer brand strategies, or sharing content)...yet, somehow, no one ever gets around to being courageous enough to challenge the old-school thinking in the compliance department... 

So yet again, things aren't moving along as they should.

Not Unwilling...Just Unable
Back to leadership competencies. We write them. We agonize over the exact words that will represent what our organization values most in our leaders. We roll them out through training and communication plans, and ultimately integrate them into job descriptions.

Why then, after all of that effort, do we allow leaders to avoid living up to them? How is it that so much high quality work can be so quickly squandered when "leaders" appear to choose not to follow through and execute?

I submit that it is for one simple reason. It's not that they don't want to do the hard work. I am convinced more than ever, that many leaders simply can not do it

The over-inflated arrogance they carry with them consistently crashes and burns for all to see when projects do not move forward. 

They can not respond to the challenge, and when leaders are unable, they no longer deserve to serve in that role.

Harsh? Honestly friends, I don't think so.

How About You
Take a look at your leaders, and compare their behavior with the leadership competencies you've committed to as an organization. Who consistently misses the mark, despite intervention, support, and 'fresh starts?'

Something to think about.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Judge In Me

"We are all hypocrites. We cannot see ourselves or judge ourselves the way we see and judge others."
Jose Emilio Pacheco

academic background
color of skin
faith perspective
home address
sexual orientation
business knowledge

It's Automatic mean, "we" judge everyone...and everything, every minute of every day, forever.


Yes, that hurts to say out loud, doesn't it? Well...sometimes we need to say the uncomfortable things out loud. We need to hold ourselves accountable to what often becomes a job-title-blind-spot that afflicts many leaders.

"Once we achieve a certain status, we lose touch with reality. We start to believe that we are better than others on the team. We move toward a superiority mindset that quite candidly, is a disaster."
Constant Struggle
For those of us with a faith perspective, judging others is really, really frowned upon. For others, well-respected leadership voices constantly emphasize the need to listen as a core competency for success. Never is "judge the team quickly and carelessly" referenced as anything but a horrible leadership failure.

The internal battle I'm engaged with, despite my daily focus on this issue, is just that...a battle! It's striking how many times I jump to conclusions, or default to traditional stereotypes even though I know they are dangerous and counter-productive.

How About You
What is your approach to ensure you minimize the time you judge others? What is your secret? I am sure I'm not speaking alone when I say, please share! I want to know!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, February 5, 2018

There Aren't Any "HR Problems"

I can clearly remember the moments when the senior team was sitting around a conference room table, the tension was palpable, and the pressing issues were shared with the group.

"It's an Operations issue."

My gut reaction: thank God it's not HR.

So Wrong In So Many Ways
As I look back on that moment (of which there have been many over the years) I am...well...I am embarrassed.

How is it that I could be grateful that whatever challenge was facing my organization, was somehow made better for me simply because it wasn't based on my direct scope of responsibility?

Did I, in that moment, consider how my colleagues felt? Might they have appreciated a kind word, an offer to help, or even me stepping up to lead a team to help them solve their problem?

I didn't do any of those things. I stayed quiet, and went on with my day doing my "HR things."

One Company, No Departments
Over a period of time my view of "whose problem is it" changed quite dramatically. I engaged with my senior leader colleagues in a more deliberate way. 

I did offer to help, and not just empty-talk, but real roll-up-your-sleeves type of help.

It's far too easy to look down on someone who is struggling and be grateful that it's "not you" that time. 

Until it's you.

How About You
The change for me happened in my head. I decided that I had responsibility (to a greater or lesser degree) for the entire organization.

Every. Single. Part.

When everything matters, there are no more HR problems, or Operations problems, or Supply Chain problems. There are only "our" problems, right?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I Know Everything

"They'll have to recognize my success this year. I've been the most effective member of the team!"

"I don't need them. It's better if I do it myself anyway!"

"I'm the life of the party. Just look at how charming I can be!"

"Those ideas are so stupid. Why would I even waste my time listening to that point of view?"

"Fortunately I am usually right. I don't need to worry about making big mistakes any longer. I'm at the top of my game!"

"There's really no need to say I'm sorry. I haven't done anything wrong!"

"Wow, what is wrong with them? They don't seem to fit in at all!"
How About You
Sometimes we get caught up in our own stuff, right? Maybe today is the best day to step back, look at those around us, and put them first. It's not always "about us."

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Meetings Are Excuses To Fail

I've attended a lot of meetings in my life. Actually, I've attended several life times worth. As a human resources leader, work is filled with "important" meetings and "critical" meetings and "high impact" meetings and just about every other cliche label for a meeting that you can think of.

And they're all lies.

Meetings Are Excuses to Avoid Work
Almost every meeting I've ever been to has been a complete waste of time.

Let me say that again...almost, every meeting I've ever been to has been a complete waste of time.

Harsh? Out of touch? Sour grapes?
Not at all. I'm not angry. I just don't want to waste so many hours of my life listening to drivel that should be shared in an email. Most meetings are "updates" or "report outs." 

Why in the world are we paying everyone to walk to a conference room, sit and chit chat, listen while every one takes turns giving updates, and then more chit chat, and finally a long walk to another conference room to do it all over again?

What in the world has happened to the modern world of work that we have convinced ourselves that report outs = work? Seriously?

It's All New to Me
I didn't always feel this way. I used to average between 25-30 meetings every week of the year. I thought I was "super busy" and "going hard" each day. What I was actually doing was wasting 20 or so hours each week doing nothing.



It comes as no surprise to me now as I help organizations take their performance to unimagined levels of success, that the meeting trap always gets in the way. The leaders constantly have to "run to a meeting" that adds zero value to their revenue, expense management, or furthering their culture.

How About You
When was the last time you completely eliminated a long-standing meeting that no longer added value? When was the last time you ensured only one member of your team attended meetings (versus the "key" people who really "should be there"?) When was the last time you said no to a request to attend a meeting? 

Or, is it simply safer to go to meetings and use your busy schedule as an excuse to be a failure?

It's 2018...we're better than that.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Senior Leaders, Cheap Talk, & Being Present

"Culture is to recruiting, as product is to marketing."
Hubspot's Culture Code

Culture, Culture, Culture
The word culture sure gets thrown around a lot, don't you think? For me, it's right up there with values. If I hear one more executive espouse their organization's values, without taking action to prove they matter, I think I might spit.

Every organization obviously has a culture. However, many organizations do not have the culture they claim, or they secretly know in their "heart" that theirs has unlimited room for improvement.

If we all know these things, claim our employees are our most valuable asset, and continue to preach our culture message over and over yet still have major gaps relative to reality, what is the missing piece?

All You Do To Me is Talk Talk
For many leaders, landing that big title or breaking into the executive ranks feels like the end of a long journey, when in fact, it is only the beginning. They often feel as if they can ramble on and on simply because they must be the smartest person in the room, just look at their title!

Think of leaders as the six players on a hockey team during a game. 

Six players, but twenty-thousand fans staring at them...watching every move...hoping for good decisions, and the effort to back up what they say when they are off the ice.

It's the same for us in leadership. There are only a few of us compared to all of the employees who work in our companies. 

They are watching every move...hoping for good decisions, and the effort to back up what we say during meeting after meeting after meeting.

Are you with me?

How About You
Words are incredibly powerful tools for leaders. They inspire, motivate, encourage, reward, hold accountable, recognize and fire up the people around them. But in the absence of action...or follow through...

...the words damage the credibility of that leader. 

It's time to back up the culture talk with culture ACTION!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Flowers 'AND' Weeds

I put a lot of energy into (trying) to be a positive person. I'm talking...fired-up, today is awesome, I love everybody and everything...kind of positive. It's not fake, or insincere. It's who I am.

Being Human
Despite my commitment to being Mr. Positivity, I often do battle with an old nemesis when it comes to maintaining that positive focus:

My brain.

The self-talk machine that we all carry around in our heads can be a powerful foe. It's as if we've been hardwired to "go negative" when things happen. Right?

So many questions...
- Why did this happen?
- What could I have done differently?
- Will this create more problems for me down the road?
- Who is this going to impact?

But, wait a minute here. It's as if our brain is trying to trick us into watering the negative weeds that grow in our heads.

And the 'talk' persists...
- I am a failure.
- I am no good.
- I am embarrassed.
- I am losing it.

When does it stop?!

I think the old adage of "powering through" in these moments doesn't really apply here (or anywhere for that matter.) Powering through negative feelings is simply not realistic or healthy.

Perhaps there is another way to reconcile that self-talk? 


Instead of the self-defeating messages we seem to have playing in a loop, maybe we could try a different approach.

"I made the wrong decision for the team; AND I am still a valuable member of the organization."

"I wish I had said something different in that moment; AND I'm thankful that relationship is still as strong as it ever was."

"When I look back, I can think of so many other things I should have done; AND I recognize that no one gets everything right...I'm human just like everyone else."

AND gives us perspective.
AND shows us a more complete picture of our world.
AND allows us to water those amazing flowers in our lives.
AND changes everything.
How About You
Maybe it's time you added one simple word into your self-talk monologue? It might make a really big difference.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.